Lake Norman Oral & Facial Surgery • Dr. Raymond J. Haigney II • 9727 Northcross Center Ct. Huntersville, NC 28078 • (704) 987-3132
9727 Northcross Center Ct. Huntersville, NC 28078 • (704) 987-3132
Healing After Tooth Extractions
Every patient is different and everyone heals in their own time. There are some things that every patient is likely to experience when healing from a tooth extraction. If your dentist has advised you to have a tooth extracted, it is important for you to be prepared and know what to expect while you heal. Your overall health will influence how long it takes you to fully recover from a tooth extraction.
Most patients are able to return to their daily activities after about a week of rest and recovery. If you do not allow your extraction to heal properly, you may face complications in the weeks to come.
Immediately Following Extraction
Every patient is likely to experience some degree of swelling right after an extraction. For the most part, the swelling should subside within three days but if you find that it is lasting longer, it is important to contact your doctor so they can get you in to examine the area and make sure that no infection is developing. You may find that a cold compress helps soothe the area and calm inflammation.
A blood clot will form over your extraction site which acts as a barrier, protecting the underlying nerve and bone structure from infection or other damage. For 3 to 4 days, it is very important that you do not use a drinking straw and do not smoke. The suction created when you use a straw or smoke a cigarette can cause the blood clot to become dislodged leaving the nerve and bone exposed; this is called dry socket.
A bit of bleeding is also normal and even expected. Over the first 24 hours, you may notice a pink tinge when you rinse your mouth out. Mouthwashes can be irritating so rinsing with a warm saltwater solution is a great way to soothe your extraction site and keep it clean and clear of food particles. Take care not to spit out the water, lean over the sink and let the water spill out.
Restrictions Following Tooth Extraction
You should expect a few restrictions on your daily routines and eating habits and even your oral hygiene habits directly following a tooth extraction. The longer you follow your post-op instructions and restrictions, the shorter your healing time will be. Allowing yourself enough time to rest and heal will make sure your recovery is quick and easy.
For the first 10 to 14 days, your doctor will likely advise that you stick to a soft food diet. Soups and smoothies and even well-cooked vegetables and pasta are a great way to stay satiated while you heal. Stay away from any grains or seeds that could become lodged in your extraction site! You will also want to avoid alcohol consumption for 7 to 10 days as well as any foods that are spicy, crunchy, or are difficult to chew.
As for your home care routine, you can brush and floss as normal but be careful to avoid your extraction site. You can use a Q-tip to remove any food particles that your saltwater rinse did not get.
Medication After Extraction
Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic medication to prevent infection which should be taken as directed and in full. If you are unable to manage your pain with over-the-counter pain medications, speak with your doctor about pain management options.
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